Wednesday Preview: March 24
Coach Ryan Jorden’s UCLA men’s soccer is still without its first Pac-12 victory after the Bruins had their worst conference record in history in Jorden’s debut season. (Andy Bao/Daily Bruin staff)
Emily Vu, Daily Bruin contributor
The last time the Bruins earned a point in Pac-12 competition was over a month ago. On Wednesday, they have an opportunity to earn all three.
UCLA men’s soccer (1-5-1, 0-4-1 Pac-12) will kick off the second half of its Pac-12 season, taking on San Diego State (0-4-1, 0-4-1) on Wednesday at the SDSU Sports Deck. The last time the two sides met, the match ended in a 1-1 draw, with sophomore forward Ollie de Visser scoring his first career goal for the Bruins in the 73rd minute.
The contest marks the second of three games UCLA will play in a nine-day stretch.
The Bruins own a winning record all-time against the Aztecs, with the blue and gold winning 44 of its last 65 meetings.
“We’ve had fair results in the past that have favored our way,” said junior goalkeeper Justin Garces. “We know that they’re looking like a different San Diego State than they have in the past and we’re going to try to do what we do best and out-compete them and out-work them to get the result we want.”
UCLA is coming off a 2-0 road loss to California, which saw the visitors unable to produce a goal for a third straight game. The Bruins have yet to win a Pac-12 game this season.
“It’s just a matter of piecing everything together,” said coach Ryan Jorden. “I feel like we’re consistently improving and even though the results don’t show it, we want to work on what we’re in control of and convert chances.”
San Diego State’s most recent match against then-No. 4 Oregon State resulted in a 5-0 defeat for the Aztecs – marking the first game this season they lost by more than one goal.
The Bruins and the Aztecs enter Wednesday’s match even in the Pac-12, with both sides accruing a 0.100 win percentage in the five games played thus far.
Senior midfielder Andrew Paoli said the game could help give UCLA momentum as it enters the second half of the regular season.
“This game is really important,” Paoli said. “We know given our last result against (San Diego State) that we have a good chance to get the result we want and continue improving on our performance.”
The match will kick off at 6 p.m.
Bryan Palmero, Daily Bruin contributor
After an extended break, the Bruins are back to face a familiar foe.
Two weeks removed from playing No. 7 Pepperdine (2-7), No. 4 UCLA beach volleyball (6-1, 3-0) will head to Malibu on Thursday for its third and fourth straight matches against the Waves this season.
On March 11, the Bruins secured the doubleheader sweep with two 4-1 victories. The win also extended their undefeated streak at Mapes Beach dating back to the 2020 season.
UCLA’s lone court losses on the day came at the hands of Pepperdine’s pairing of Simone Priebe and Melanie Paul.
Throughout the Waves’ season, Priebe and Paul have seen action on courts one, two and three. That court versatility was on full display as they managed to obtain wins over the Bruins’ court two and three pairings.
Junior Lea Monkhouse, who fell to Pepperdine’s pairing in the second dual match with sophomore Abby Van Winkle, has been no stranger to lineup changes.
“I’ve played all over the place on like different courts,” Monkhouse said. “Every team in the world is different and you have to play to play a different game against everyone.”
Monkhouse started this season slotted on court five with redshirt freshman Maggie Walters before moving around to courts two, three and four over her past five matches.
In a series of games full of familiar faces, coach Stein Metzger said these ever-changing lineups add wrinkles to how games are played, but its success still boils down to his team’s flexibility.
“(Teams) don’t usually bounce (pairs) around a ton,” Metzger said. “There are a couple teams that do that, but Pepperdine usually plays it fairly straight up.”
It’s still unknown who will start at each court for both teams Thursday, especially as UCLA continues to experiment with its lineups, according to Metzger.
In its back-to-back wins, the Bruins rolled out with two new pairings on the season at courts three and five, playing sophomore Lindsey Sparks and redshirt sophomore Hannah Phair together on the third and redshirt sophomore Cami Sanchez and redshirt freshman Jaden Whitmarsh on the fifth.
“We threw together a couple of matchups,” Metzger said. “Cami and Jaden have played together before but neither of them are a blocker. … (Phair) went into the threes with Lindsey but they’ve never really played together.”
The Bruins will see if their experimentation yields results as they hit Zuma Beach to start their doubleheader at 10 a.m. before starting the second dual at noon.